There are a handful of things that encapsulate everything good about summer: the moment you splash into a pool; waving sparklers around in the dark; the smell of a just-lit grill. Chief among them is the sensation of biting into a ripe slice of watermelon. Something about this glorious fruit, with its impossibly juicy flesh and the joyful messiness of eating it, that just is summertime.
Whether you want to toast to the height of summer, or long to revisit those “sweaty but happy” memories during another season, watermelon craft cider captures the fairy-nectar sweetness of the fruit so you can enjoy it any old time.
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The Golden Phoenix, a delightfully sweet-tart cider from Oregon-based Avid Cider doubles down on pink fruitiness with the additions of both fresh-pressed watermelon and stalks of Michigan-grown rhubarb. The result is a balanced, crisp and refreshing crusher that — praise be! — comes in a tall, 19.2-oz can. Buy online or visit Avid’s taproom in Bend, OR.
The watermelon-spiked cider from Cobbler Mountain packs a 12-ounce bottle with ripe, drippy watermelon flavors. Try it on tap alongside 23 (!) other ciders at the beautiful Cobbler Mountain Taproom, situated on 90 wildlife-protected acres in Central Virginia.
The 80’s surfer feel of Fishback & Stephenson‘s First Crush hints at the watermelon bubblegum flavors you’ll find inside the rad-designed cans. Like a sweet-and-sour melon candy meets crisp, refreshing cider, this is a fun one for brunch or beach hangs. You can find First Crush, and F&S’s other irreverent ciders, at its taproom in Fairfield, Iowa, or online.
Are you looking for a juice-bomb with big, loud watermelon flavors? Check out Locust Cider‘s Watermelon Hard Cider, made with Washington apples infused with watermelon juice. It’s off-dry, refreshing and juicy! But don’t wait, as this is a seasonal summer release. Grab a six-pack online or at one of Locust Cider’s 16 taprooms across Washington, Texas and Colorado.
If Rev. Nat’s is going to make a watermelon cider, you know it’s going to be legit. Its Holy Water(melon) starts with tart Granny Smith apples, fermented with an English ale yeast to full dryness, then punched up with natural ginger juice and hand-zested and juiced limes. Then, the cidery team scoops out over 100 succulent, juicy Hermiston melons (the “king of watermelons” according to owner Nat West) grown in Eastern Oregon. The watermelon flesh is pressed, then the juice of five melons is added to each half-barrel keg. Due to the small-batch nature of this cider, it’s only available on draft in the summertime.
In collaboration with the Denver Zoo, Stem Ciders recently released Flockstar, a combination of its Hibiscus and A Salted Cucumber ciders with a big splash of watermelon juice for added depth and melon flavor. The vibrant pink of the cider is a nod to the flamingos that live at the zoo! Use Stem’s cider finder to scoop up some Flockstar near you.
You know the part of the watermelon that’s close to the rind and is just a touch sour? That’s kind of what Tieton Cider Works‘ Sour Watermelon is all about. There’s a tart bite on the front palate, quickly balanced by the sweetness of apples and sun-ripened northwest watermelons. Shop online or visit Tieton’s tasting room in Yakima, WA.
Your turn! What are your go-to watermelon craft ciders to open on steamy summer days? Let us know!
- Feature photo: Stem Ciders